Christ the Mediator healing all creation
Oct 22, 2015
The Apostle Paul tells us in 1 Timothy 2:5,
5 For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.
Paul compares Christ to Moses, each of whom mediated a covenant between God and men. Obviously, the Mediator of the New Covenant (Hebrews 12:24) was greater than that of the Old, not only because of the superiority of the New Covenant itself, but on account of the superiority of the Mediator himself.
Moses was born of two fleshly parents of the tribe of Levi. Jesus had but one earthly parent, his mother, who was impregnated by God Himself (Matthew 1:20). When we link the virgin birth to Christ’s role as Mediator, we can see how He could do a greater work than Moses could have done. Moses could only mediate externally a covenant between God and men. Christ mediated internally between His two natures (God and man).
Reconciling Heaven and Earth
Christ’s success in mediating the New Covenant hinged upon His success in mediating between His nature as Son of God and His nature as Son of Man. Since His two natures did not conflict in any way, their very agreement ensured the success of the New Covenant within Himself. And if He was internally successful, then He could be the Prototype of the external New Creation Man for the rest of humanity to follow suit.
Further, in order to be successful as the Mediator of the New Covenant, Jesus had to qualify for the position, or calling. His two natures came into near conflict in the Garden of Gethsemane, when His earthly nature cringed from the cross (Matthew 26:39). Yet He overcame, not only by being “obedient” (Philippians 2:8), but also by agreeing with the plan and having an inner joy about it, even while His flesh shrank from the pain.
Christ’s work of mediation was designed to reconcile heaven and earth. The apex of this work was to restore a lost relationship. Christ’s body, insofar as His two natures are concerned, represented both heaven and earth united as one. From the moment He was begotten in His mother’s womb, these two natures were united (insofar as history is concerned), anticipating a greater reconciliation between heaven and earth itself that was yet to come at the end of time.
The Promises of God
The question arises, then, as to the scope of Christ’s success as Mediator of the New Covenant. The New Covenant was always revealed in various ways as a promise of God to men, even as the Old Covenant involved man’s promise to God (Exodus 19:8). Though men could not keep their promises, God cannot break His promises deliberately, nor is He incapable of keeping them, in spite of opposition from the will of men.
The inner harmony that Jesus enjoyed between His two natures stands as a firm testimony of the harmony that will spread out from Himself to the rest of the world. It will continue to spread until the full promise of God is fulfilled.
The Origin of Created Matter
Yet there is another crucial line of thought that should be considered. It has to do with the origin of creation itself. Church Theologians have argued for or against three propositions as to the origin of creation. They come with three different Latin labels:
- Creatio ex nihilo, “creation out of nothing.”
- Creatio ex materia, “creation out of some pre-existent, eternal matter”
- Creatio ex deo, “creation of the being of God.”
Most Christians have assumed that God created all things out of nothing, ex nihilo. This view was actually taken from a non-canonical book. 2 Maccabees 7:28 says,
28 I beseech thee, my son, look upon the heavens and the earth, and all that there is therein, and consider that God made them of things that were not; and so was mankind made likewise.
Classic Greek philosophical religion taught that matter itself pre-existed in an unorganized and chaotic state, and that it was created by the devil (demiurge). Their view made matter evil and spirit good, and this basic assumption, or “faith,” colored their entire outlook on the divine plan for creation. If matter was inherently evil, then the goal of history was to separate matter from spirit, darkness from light, evil from good, so that each might remain separate while coexisting for eternity.
Only the third option above is actually Scriptural. Paul affirms this in Romans 11:36,
36 For from [ek, “from; out of”] Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.
All things, whether they are physical or not, come out of God. This has to do with the building material by which God created the heavens and the earth. In other words, if we subdivide matter into its smallest, indivisible particle, we arrive at a “God Particle,” the point where spirit and matter converge. It is a particle that cannot be further divided.
In ancient times, Epicurus called it an atom (atomos, translated “moment” in 1 Corinthians 15:52). Modern scientists applied the term to what is now called an “atom,” assuming that it could not be subdivided further. But now they know that “atoms” can be split, and that it is huge compared to the atomos that Epicurus envisioned. In 2012 scientists proved the existence of the Higgs boson particle, which they believe might be the “God Particle,” the basic building block of the universe.
God Feels Our Pain
Paul said that the universe was created out of God. This is not Pantheism, where there are gods in everything, but rather it is the belief that God fills all things (Ephesians 4:10). Paul says Christ “fills all in all” (Ephesians 1:23), and that the purpose of the reconciliation of all things is “that God may BE all in all” (1 Corinthians 15:28). That is, that God may be all that He is in all of creation.
The teaching that matter was created out of nothing seeks to separate God from creation in order to prevent men from worshiping that which was created. The motive is admirable, but such teaching also hides the divine passion—and even the need--for reconciling all things. Yet Paul paints a picture of God feeling the pain of creation’s disease (sin) as long as there is disharmony anywhere. God is not so detached from His creation as men would like to think. He has a personal stake in creation.
Hebrews 4:15 says of Jesus, the great Mediator,
15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.
Furthermore, Matthew 8:16, 17 tells us,
16 And when evening had come, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed; and He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were ill, 17 in order that what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, saying, “He Himself took our infirmities, and carried away our diseases.”
The quotation is from Isaiah 53:4, which says,
4 Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
This paints the picture of a Messiah who is physically sick, bearing the sicknesses that are common to all men. Did Jesus actually become sick at times? Church doctrine says no, but Jesus said in Luke 4:23, “No doubt you will quote this proverb to Me, ‘Physician, heal yourself!’” Was Jesus physically ill while He was healing others? Was this the force behind the proverb in that situation? We are not told, but it is possible that Isaiah’s prophecy of a suffering Messiah in need of healing prophesied of this in order that He might truly “sympathize with our weaknesses” (Hebrews 4:15).
Reconciling All Things
Sin put everything out of balance. Sin brought disunity among people and disharmony to the most basic level of creation. If all matter comes “out of” God, as Paul says, then should we not conclude that God feels pain as well? Why should the God of Love be above pain and suffering? The very fact that the Son of God suffered on earth shows that it was part of the divine plan for Him to suffer as the Mediator of the Covenant.
From the beginning, God was connected to His creation. This relationship was the basis of His love. In a way, it was self-love. We may not comprehend the depth of His love, which caused Him to put sin, sickness, and disharmony into the plan in order to express grace and love; yet God found this necessary. To resolve this temporary problem, He sent His Son as the Mediator between God and men to experience on earth that which He experienced in heaven in order to bridge the gap and restore creation back to Himself.
In fact, if there is any part of creation that is lost forever, God would forever experience the pain of disharmony in His parts; He would forever feel the loss of unrequited love; and God would forever remain incomplete in His parts. But Paul testifies against such an outcome, saying in Romans 11:36 that not only have all things come “out of Him,” but in the end all things go back “to Him.”
We are then compelled to believe that all of God’s judgments proceed from Love, ensuring that judgment has a positive outcome. Hence, Isaiah 26:9 says, “when the earth experiences Thy judgments, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.” For this reason also, Moses received instructions to build the Ark of the Covenant with the Mercy Seat positioned above the cabinet containing the tables of the law. James comments on this in James 2:13, saying, “mercy triumphs over judgment.” Mercy is the mediator between Love and Judgment.
Judgment is a necessary component of the divine plan, but it has life and power only in the presence of disharmony and sin. As love’s subordinate, judgment must carry out the will of love. Its job is to compel by law all of creation out of its disharmony in order to fulfill the passion, will, and love of God.
For this reason Scripture tells us that judgment is never “everlasting,” but olam (Heb.) and aionian (Greek). Olam refers to an unknown, indefinite period of time, for it comes from the root word alam, “to hide.” The Greek term, aionian, “age-abiding,” used in the New Testament is simply the closest Greek equivalent used to express the Hebrew concept of olam. Hence, neither word can be used to force us to believe that judgment never ends. The idea of eternal punishment was banned in the divine law, where even the death penalty itself was to end in resurrection, where every knee will bow.
The implications of this are enormous. God remains a winner. His New Covenant vow is fulfilled. Nothing is lost. God’s will is victorious over man’s will. All things are put under His feet. The last enemy (death) is abolished. The goal of love is accomplished. Harmony is re-established. God is healed.
This resounding victory, pictured in Revelation 5:13 with every created being in agreement with God, was accomplished through Jesus Christ the Mediator. His role as Messiah meant that He would have to experience in His body the disharmony in creation, not only that He might sympathize (or empathize) with us, but so that He would bring the solution and complete harmony in all of God’s body parts.
Dr. Stephen Jones